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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL)

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Legislative Update - September 15, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dear Neighbors,

I hope everyone had a great summer and that the school year is off to a good start. Here are some recent updates:

Happy Labor Day

First, I want to wish everyone a belated happy Labor Day! It’s remarkable what generations of workers in the labor movement have gained that now benefit many of us, including weekends with our families, a 40 hour work week, paid sick time, an end of child labor, workplace safety regulations, and retirement benefits.

Wild Rice Field Trip

Last weekend, I hosted a bipartisan group of legislators who were interested in learning more about wild rice, how it is harvested and how it impacts the economy and culture of northern Minnesota.

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As many of you know, I grew up near Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. With the help of Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe staff and volunteers, we were able to bring other Representatives out in canoes to share this truly unique Minnesota resource. Minnesota is the top producer of naturally grown wild rice in the world and it was wonderful to share more about how it grows and is sustainably harvested!

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Technology Committee Meeting

In addition to my “regular” committees, I also serve on the Select Committee on Technology and Responsive Government. This committee will be meeting on Monday, September 25, at 1:00 p.m. in the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building (2200 23rd Street NE Willmar, Mn) to discuss and take public testimony regarding “MNLARS,” Minnesota’s new licensing and vehicle registration system. To find more information on our upcoming meeting, you can visit the committee’s website.

Help Oversee Game and Fish

The Minnesota DNR is looking for 12 people to serve three year terms on the Fisheries Oversight and Wildlife Oversight committee. If you have an interest in Minnesota’s game and fish policy and budget, you could help shape the direction our state takes in this important area. People who step up to serve on commissions like this do a lot of important work for our state. For more information and to apply, you can go here.

Minnesota State Fair Poll Results

As you may have gathered from previous updates, I love the State Fair! This year I was excited to work at the House of Representatives booth in the Education Building. Each year the House conducts an informal, unscientific poll on various issues at the booth. Notable results include a majority supporting legalizing recreational use of marijuana, making hand held cell phone use illegal while driving a car, and raising the state’s gas tax by ten cents to help pay for road and bridge repairs.

Also of note is that 96% of respondents believe telecommunications companies should be required to get the consent of their customers before sharing their sensitive data, including browsing history. I strongly supported including this language in a bill this past session but unfortunately it was removed from the omnibus bill and never became law. I will keep fighting for internet privacy next session!

You can see the full poll results here.

Property Tax Refund Update

As I mentioned in a previous update, Minnesota has a program for many renters and homeowners to receive a refund of property taxes paid. Most people qualify for this and I’m hopeful that many of you took advantage of the program. If you did, you can check on the status of your refund here. If you have not filed, you can still file until August 15, 2018, even though the “due date” was last month.

Legislative Response to DACA

As many of you know, President Trump has instructed the Justice Department to end DACA (Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals). Ending this program will not make our country safer and will not advance permanent, comprehensive immigration reform. 6300 young people currently living in Minnesota would be affected, which would also impact businesses who rely on these tax-paying employees.

I joined my fellow legislators of the POCI Caucus in releasing this statement condemning this action. I also signed on to a bipartisan, bicameral statement led by Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake).

As always, I look forward to hearing from you. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns and suggestions for future community events to include on our list!

Jamie

P.S: Don’t forget to forward this update to your friends and family. They can sign up to receive these updates here.

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